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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 21, 2010

2010 IWP at the UI presents free events Sept. 22-26

The 2010 University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will present four free public events from Sept. 22 through Sept. 26:

--Sept. 22: The IWP Cinematheque series will offer the 2008 Indonesian film "Rainbow Troops," presented by Indonesian novelist Andrea Hirata at 8 p.m. in Room E105 of the Adler Journalism Building.
--Sept. 24: A panel discussion, "Why I Write the Way I Do," at noon in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, with pizza.
--Sept. 24: IWP residents Chehem Watta from Djibouti and Khin Maung Nyo from Myanmar will read at 5 p.m. in the Shambaugh House, the IWP headquarters at 30 N. Clinton St., with refreshments.
--Sept. 26: IWP participants Farhad Sulliman Khoyratty from Mauritius and Ian Rosales Casocot from the Philippines will be joined by UI Nonfiction Writing Program graduate student Rachel Yoder at 4 p.m. in Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St., downtown Iowa City.

"Rainbow Troops," directed by Riri Riza and based on Hirata's best-selling novel, is set on the Indonesian island of Belitong, where two teachers, Muslimah and Harfan, eagerly await the beginning of the new school year and the arrival of their new pupils.

At least 10 pupils need to attend their Islamic primary school or the educational authority will close them down. Fortunately 10 students register for school -- most of the children being from families of poor day laborers.

Muslimah decides to call the group of first graders the "rainbow troops." Following the children over a period of five years, the movie observes as these disadvantaged children struggle for the right to make their dreams reality.

"Why I Write the Way I Do" is an annual theme for IWP discussions. Participants on Sept. 24 will be Ghada Abdel Aal from Egypt, Alan Cherchesov from Russia, Cho Yong Mee from South Korea and Kim Sa-in from South Korea.

Watta, who will read on Sept. 24, is the first representative from Djibouti in the four-decade history of the IWP. In addition to being a poet, he teaches at the Medical School and is the HIV/AIDS advisor to the president of the Djibouti Republic. Fiction writer Nyo also has a "day job"; he has taught chemistry at Rangoon University for 26 years.

The IWP/Writing University readings on Sundays in Prairie Lights are streamed live on the Writing University website:

Read all the IWP writers' bios at

The 2010 IWP community of 38 writers from 32 countries includes a mix of fiction writers, poets, translators, essayists, filmmakers, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, journalists and critics.

Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature.

The IWP introduces talented writers to American life; enables them to take part in American university life; and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. Since 1967, more than 1,200 writers from more than 130 countries have attended the IWP, including Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Many of the writers are supported through the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies, while others are funded through a variety of foundations, government councils and bilateral agreements.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-430-1013,